Week 15 in the NFL has a lot of injury news to deal with, and it leaves us with a lot of options at the bottom end of the pricing to allow stars and scrubs builds.
Let’s talk about a few of the must-plays at the bottom and how you can fill in your lineup from there.
Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys: Elliott is not the most popular top-end back on the slate, but I think that he has yet to achieve his true upside this season with his recent usage. The Cowboys started the season with a lot of passing game success through the use of play-action. The issue with this for Elliott is that the play-action is usually not designed to get the running back back into the play, so his target rate was really low.
This low target share really made Elliott touchdown-dependent, and he lacked the elite upside that we had seen in previous years. Elliott is a great pass blocker and receiver, and I think that the Cowboys have started to get him more involved in the passing game in recent weeks. Just two weeks ago, we saw him get 10 targets, which is incredible for his general production rates.
I think that we have still not seen the ceiling game from Elliott where we get 100 rushing yards, a TD or two along with five-plus catches. He is finally getting the chance to put all of his abilities on display, and I like him at a discount over other top options this week to be different and eat the chalk at other spots.
Patrick Laird, Miami Dolphins: Laird is my favorite play anywhere that he is reasonably priced. Laird saw a 70-plus percent share in routes run by Dolphins RBs, targets, carries, and snaps last week, and this spot is even better than last week.
The Giants are horrible against the run and against running backs that catch passes. I expect Laird to be the workhorse back again, and he is just far too cheap on most sites to ignore.
Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions: Here is another expensive player that won’t be super high-owned in this spot against a really bad defense. While it’s not super fun to play an expensive WR1 with a third-string quarterback, David Blough and Golladay have had real success against two matchups that were much more difficult.
Blough isn’t a great QB, but he is not gun-shy, and he loves to try and give Golladay a chance to make a play. The Bucs should be a popular team to target this week, and I love sticking Golladay in the same lineup to get correlation and differentiation from the chalkier builds.
Justin Watson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Watson is supposed to be the substitute for Mike Evans this week, and he is simply too cheap across the industry. Watson had a good amount of success in the preseason, and he has done well whenever called upon. I expect him to play a lot of snaps, and Jameis Winston has never been hesitant to throw to him, as he showed us last week.
Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz is the best tight end play on the slate, and I don’t think it is that close. I almost never play Ertz, but this spot is too good to pass up. It’s very possible that we see the Eagles have just two wide receivers on their team besides potential late-week practice squad call-ups. Ertz should not come off the field, and he should be peppered with targets this week against a bad Washington team, especially in the red zone.